Brett Ritchie had the game-winning goal and Par Lindholm added the insurance goal against his former team late in the third period, as the Boston Bruins beat the Toronto Maple Leafs, 4-2, at TD Garden on Tuesday night.
Tuukka Rask (4-0-1, 1.78 goals against average, .944 save percentage in five games played) stopped 28 out of 30 shots faced for a .933 SV% in the win for Boston.
Rask played in his 500th career game and became the 28th goaltender in league history to play all 500 games with one franchise, as well as the 72nd goaltender all time to reach 500 games in his career (10th active).
Meanwhile, Maple Leafs goaltender, Michael Hutchinson (0-2-1, 4.02 GAA, .890 SV% in four games played) made 35 saves on 39 shots against for an .897 SV% in the loss.
The Bruins improved to 6-1-2 (14 points) and remained 2nd in the Atlantic Divison, while the Maple Leafs fell to 5-4-2 (12 points)– stuck in 3rd place in the Atlantic.
Bruce Cassidy coached his 200th game as Boston’s head coach and is 123-53-24 in that span.
Kevan Miller (knee), John Moore (shoulder), David Krejci (upper body), Joakim Nordstrom (upper body) and Karson Kuhlman (tibia) made up Boston’s long list of players out due to injury on Tuesday night, while Steven Kampfer remained the only healthy scratch for the Bruins.
Krejci was placed on the injured reserve (retroactive to last week when his injury occurred), while Nordstrom returned to practice without the need for a no-contact sweater since the B’s returned from their trip up to Toronto last Saturday.
Kuhlman suffered a hairline nondisplaced fracture of his right tibia in Boston’s game against Toronto on Saturday (Oct. 19th) and will be reevaluated in approximately four weeks, as reported by the team moments after their win against the Maple Leafs Tuesday night.
As a result of Boston’s many injuries, Anders Bjork was recalled from the Providence Bruins (AHL) on emergency basis and took on Nordstrom’s usual role as the fourth line left wing alongside Sean Kuraly and Chris Wagner.
Bjork has 3-5–8 totals in seven games with Providence this season and has a plus-five rating in that span.
Ritchie was bumped up from the third line right wing to the second line right wing with Jake DeBrusk and Charlie Coyle in place of Kuhlman, while Cassidy also moved David Backes up to the right side of the third line with Danton Heinen and Lindholm as a result.
Torey Krug interfered with Frederik Gauthier after the Leafs skater bumped David Pastrnak along the boards and left the league leading goal scorer hunched over on his way back to the bench.
Krug was assessed a minor penalty at 4:03 of the first period, yielding a power play for Toronto.
The Maple Leafs didn’t convert on the skater advantage.
Just past the midpoint of the opening frame, Pastrnak thought he scored the game’s first goal, but Maple Leafs head coach, Mike Babcock, used a coach’s challenge to review how the Bruins entered the attacking zone.
After review, it was determined that the play was offside leading up to Pastrnak’s would-be goal and thus, the score remained tied, 0-0 at 10:48.
Moments later, Andreas Johnsson hooked Kuraly at 16:26 and the Bruins went on the power play for their first time of the night.
It didn’t take long for Boston to capitalize on the skater advantage as Pastrnak (10) received the puck on his backhand, skated backwards in front of the crease and scored a between-the-legs goal through Hutchinson’s five-hole to give the B’s a power play goal and the, 1-0, lead at 17:15.
The goal was Pastrnak’s 300th career NHL point in his 329th career game– becoming the 4th fastest to reach 300 points in Bruins franchise history– and was assisted by Brad Marchand (9) and Krug (6).
Only Leon Draisaitl (328) has more points than Pastrnak among members from the same 2014 NHL Draft class and only Barry Pederson (235 games), Bobby Orr (279) and Ray Bourque (316) got to 300 points in their career for Boston faster than Pastrnak.
Just three seconds after the Bruins scored on the power play, Johnsson was sent back to the sin bin for roughing Wagner at 17:18.
Boston did not convert on the ensuing power play.
At the end of the first period, the B’s held a, 1-0, lead entering the first intermission, while holding an advantage in shots on goal, 12-10, as well.
Toronto led in blocked shots (2-1) and faceoff win percentage (71-29), while the Bruins led in takeaways (4-2) and hits (11-8). Both teams had four giveaways each heading into the second period.
Meanwhile, the Maple Leafs power play was 0/1 and the B’s were 1/2.
Less than 90 seconds into the middle frame, Jake Muzzin tripped up DeBrusk and presented Boston with another power play at 1:18 of the second period.
The Bruins were not able to capitalize on their early skater advantage in the second frame and the Leafs killed off Muzzin’s minor without any harm.
In the vulnerable minute thereafter, Kasperi Kapanen (3) blasted a one-timer past Rask off a backhand drop pass from Alexander Kerfoot to tie the game, 1-1, at 4:23 of the second period.
Kerfoot (3) and Justin Holl (3) tallied the assists on Kapanen’s goal as Toronto pounced on Boston’s lackluster effort defending against Toronto’s rush.
But Marchand (5) responded with a quick goal of his own on a wrist shot from the slot that he sent high into the twine over Hutchinson’s glove side after receiving a pass from Pastrnak in the attacking zone.
Pastrnak (7) and Charlie McAvoy (2) had the assists on Marchand’s goal as the Bruins regained the lead, 2-1, at 6:09.
The two teams swapped goals in a 1:05 span of the middle period.
Midway through the middle frame, Zdeno Chara was called for tripping Gauthier even though Chara had actually interfered with the Leaf– catching the Toronto skater with a one-arm shove from about shoulder height instead of a trip and knocking him over.
Nonetheless, a minor penalty was indeed the right call and the Maple Leafs went on the power play at 11:40.
Toronto converted on a tic-tac-goal as Kerfoot (4) notched a power play goal from dead center in the slot while Rask was caught out of position– seconds behind the play.
William Nylander had sent a cross-ice pass to Kapanen, who tossed the puck back to Kerfoot in the slot for the goal at 12:54, tying the game, 2-2.
Kapanen (5) and Nylander (4) had the assists on Toronto’s power play goal as the Maple Leafs took full advantage of catching the Bruins off of their game in the middle frame.
Late in the period, Morgan Rielly tripped Kuraly and was assessed a minor penalty, but the B’s didn’t score on the resulting skater advantage at 15:54.
Heading into the second intermission, the two teams were tied on the scoreboard, 2-2, despite the Bruins leading in shots on goal, 25-22– even though Toronto actually held a, 13-12, advantage in shots on net in the second period alone.
Boston led in every other major statistical category, however, entering the third period, leading the Leafs in blocked shots (7-4), takeaways (11-4), giveaways (7-6), hits (17-14) and faceoff win% (51-49).
Toronto was 1/2 on the power play, while the Bruins were 1/4 to begin the final frame of regulation.
After Coyle dumped the puck around the glass for DeBrusk to dig out of the corner on the other side of Hutchinson, Ritchie (2) followed up on a loose puck after DeBrusk’s initial shot attempt was blocked by a Maple Leafs defender and buried a shot behind the Toronto netminder for what would be the eventual game-winning goal at 6:35 of the third period.
DeBrusk (2) had the only assist on Ritchie’s goal as Boston retook the lead, 3-2.
Though Kuraly caught Johnsson with a high stick late in the final period at 15:48, Toronto’s power play was no match for Boston’s penalty killing unit– even after Babcock used his team’s timeout with 3:27 remaining in the game to try to draw up a game-tying play.
Seconds after being released from the box, Kuraly entered the offensive zone with the puck on his stick and sent a shot right in and out of Hutchinson’s glove.
Lindholm (1), the former Maple Leaf, scored on the rebound with a backhand tap-in goal to provide the Bruins with an insurance goal, giving Boston the two-goal lead, 4-2, at 17:57 of the third period.
Kuraly (3) had the only assist on Lindholm’s first goal as a Bruin.
Eight seconds after Boston extended their lead, Marchand picked up an unsportsmanlike conduct infraction, leaving his teammates shorthanded at 18:05, but the Leafs couldn’t score on the power play– even with their goaltender pulled for an extra attacker.
The Bruins secured another “W” in the win column with their, 4-2, victory over Toronto at the sound of the final horn.
Boston had defeated the Leafs for the 300th time in franchise history– the most wins vs. any opponent since the Bruins joined the NHL as the first American expansion team in 1924.
The B’s finished Tuesday night leading in shots on goal, 39-30, including a, 14-8, advantage in the third period alone, as well as giveaways (10-8), hits (32-16) and faceoff win% (60-40), while Toronto finished the night leading in blocked shots (9-8).
Both teams went 1/4 on the power play as the Bruins improved to 300-265-111 all-time against Toronto in the regular season.
Boston has a few days off before they face the defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues in a 2019 Stanley Cup Final rematch for the first time this season at home on Oct. 26th.
St. Louis will actually be the first back-to-back days with games for the Bruins, as Boston will travel to New York to face the Rangers on Oct. 27th before finishing the month at home against the San Jose Sharks on Oct. 29th.
The Bruins improved to 3-0-1 at home this season and 5-1-0 when leading after the first period. The B’s are also 5-1-1 when scoring the game’s first goal this season.